What We Can Afford

We never question the price tag on this type of stuff, do we:

The US Army Corps of Engineers plans to supervise construction of a five-story underground facility for an Israel Defense Forces complex, oddly named “Site 911,” at an Israeli Air Force base near Tel Aviv.

Expected to take more than two years to build, at a cost of up to $100 million, the facility is to have classrooms on Level 1, an auditorium on Level 3, a laboratory, shock-resistant doors, protection from nonionizing radiation and very tight security. Clearances will be required for all construction workers, guards will be at the fence and barriers will separate it from the rest of the base.

Only U.S. construction firms are being allowed to bid on the contract, and proposals are due Dec. 3, according to the latest Corps of Engineers notice.

Time and treasure are always available. US resources — public and private — are always available. The “no we can’t” spirit so prevalent in government and private industry these days only seems to apply when we feel like it. This isn’t me making a value judgment on Israel paying some private company to build whatever this is, by the way. It’s me pointing out that we tend to talk about choices as if they’re inevitabilities and not things we’ve decided to do on purpose. If we can choose to do this, we can choose to do something else, too:

Now, please take the time to watch this meeting of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authoritythat took place immediately following Hurricane Isaac where Col. Edward R. Fleming explains to the board that COE simply doesn’t have the money or resources to address the levee system that flooded Braithwaite, East Plaquemines Parish and Laplace.

We choose to do and not do things, and this isn’t semantics. How we talk about our spending priorities is how we understand them, and we seem to understand that protecting ourselves is impossible, and blowing shit up elsewhere in the world is inevitable, and anybody pointing out that neither of those is true is crazy.


7 thoughts on “What We Can Afford

  1. The “no we can’t” spirit so prevalent in government and private industry these days only seems to apply when we feel like it.
    And when they feel like it is…pretty much any time a project would benefit the general public. Nope, can’t have flood control…but the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy MUST remain…

  2. Don’t even get me going on the insanity that is US foreign aid to Israel. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is too good for our 51st State. Over $3,000,000,000.00 a year in military subsidies and probably another 5,000,000,000.00 to $7,000,000,000.00 per year in “economic development” aid. Much of which simply vanishes into building settlements in occupied territories – building that we oppose!
    As much as I despise the Bush Dynasty I will say this. Poppy did bring Israel to heel and did so by cutting off the dollars. Of course, he was soon gone from office and no one has ever uttered the thought of cutting them off again. Even when they break their promise not to use the cluster bombs we sold them (Lebanon, ’06) – a violation which by law should have resulted in the immediate suspension of military assistance aid.
    And to think, we could do much good at so many levels with $10,000,000,000.00 per year. How many more teachers? Firemen? Bridges? Water treatment plants? Or levees?

  3. As any good salesman will remind you when you start wondering if you can afford it:
    it isn’t a matter of what you can afford as much as looking at the sizzle of the new product. Just think of the joy and self esteem that a new car will get you as people turn their heads to notice you.

  4. It may be a U.S. contract, but, dollars to doughnuts, it’s going to use local labor.
    I continue to be completely perplexed by the attitude that condones this kind of spending (had a relative express genuine shock that I would even question the rectitude of the U.S. having a thousand bases–secret and not–around the world: “what’s wrong with that?”). We close bases here so we can afford to build bases elsewhere, which are uniformly more expensive to operate and maintain, via a contracting and logistics system that was designed over twenty years ago to be fundamentally corrupt (what else could it be?–it was Cheney’s idea).
    And yet, we continue to hammer away at the security of many tens of millions of U.S. citizens in the search for even more money to pay for this newfangled Foreign Legion.
    But, ask the ordinary citizen, and you’ll get a shrug and “they’re keepin’ us safe.”
    Are they, really?

  5. There’s ALWAYS money available for defense projects, but no no no, don’t have the cash to rein in the super-rich, help the poor, etc.
    Which is why SEC enforcement should be accomplished via drone strikes.

  6. The people that make up ACoE are 98% civilian. So the agency basically combines the inflexible bureaucracy of the military with subcontracting funded by Congressional priorities. It’s just about the worst way to run an engineering firm imaginable which is why non-military engineers surpassed military engineers sometime around 1870.
    I see this Israeli bunker thing more as the US and Israel being defense BFFs and having to draw on each others notebooks about the latest developments in geometry class and/or Iran. Israel can sure as shit build a state-of-the-art bunker without the help of the ACoE. It’s just they might have to pay for it themselves if they don’t come up with some BS reason to get the US involved.

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